[News] Post a Political News Story

Ongoing discussion of the political news of the day.

Assuming we haven't entered a nuclear war or Socialist Revolution by then.

I'd only bet on the former, if I had to.

The Nationalist's Delusion

Thirty years ago, nearly half of Louisiana voted for a Klansman, and the media struggled to explain why.

It was 1990 and David Duke, the former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, astonished political observers when he came within striking distance of defeating incumbent Democratic U.S. Senator J. Bennett Johnston, earning 43 percent of the vote. If Johnston’s Republican rival hadn’t dropped out of the race and endorsed him at the last minute, the outcome might have been different.

Was it economic anxiety? The Washington Post reported that the state had “a large working class that has suffered through a long recession.” Was it a blow against the state’s hated political establishment? An editorial from United Press International explained, “Louisianans showed the nation by voting for Duke that they were mad as hell and not going to take it any more.” Was it anti-Washington rage? A Loyola University pollster argued, “There were the voters who liked Duke, those who hated J. Bennett Johnston, and those who just wanted to send a message to Washington.”

What message would those voters have been trying to send by putting a Klansman into office?

“There’s definitely a message bigger than Louisiana here,” Susan Howell, then the director of the Survey Research Center at the University of New Orleans, told the Los Angeles Times. “There is a tremendous amount of anger and frustration among working-class whites, particularly where there is an economic downturn. These people feel left out; they feel government is not responsive to them.”

Duke’s strong showing, however, wasn’t powered merely by poor or working-class whites—and the poorest demographic in the state, black voters, backed Johnston. Duke “clobbered Johnston in white working-class districts, ran even with him in predominantly white middle-class suburbs, and lost only because black Louisianans, representing one-quarter of the electorate, voted against him in overwhelming numbers,” The Washington Post reported in 1990. Duke picked up nearly 60 percent of the white vote. Faced with Duke’s popularity among whites of all income levels, the press framed his strong showing largely as the result of the economic suffering of the white working classes. Louisiana had “one of the least-educated electorates in the nation; and a large working class that has suffered through a long recession,” The Post stated.

By accepting the economic theory of Duke’s success, the media were buying into the candidate’s own vision of himself as a savior of the working class. He had appealed to voters in economic terms: He tore into welfare and foreign aid, affirmative action and outsourcing, and attacked political-action committees for subverting the interests of the common man. He even tried to appeal to black voters, buying a 30-minute ad in which he declared, “I’m not your enemy.”

Duke’s candidacy had initially seemed like a joke. He was a former Klan leader who had showed up to public events in a Nazi uniform and lied about having served in the Vietnam War, a cartoonishly vain supervillain whose belief in his own status as a genetic Übermensch was belied by his plastic surgeries. The joke soon soured, as many white Louisiana voters made clear that Duke’s past didn’t bother them.

Many of Duke’s voters steadfastly denied that the former Klan leader was a racist. The St. Petersburg Times reported in 1990 that Duke supporters “are likely to blame the media for making him look like a racist.” The paper quoted G. D. Miller, a “59-year-old oil-and-gas lease buyer,” who said, “The way I understood the Klan, it’s not anti-this or anti-that.”

Duke’s rejoinder to the ads framing him as a racist resonated with his supporters. “Remember,” he told them at rallies, “when they smear me, they are really smearing you.”

The economic explanation carried the day: Duke was a freak creature of the bayou who had managed to tap into the frustrations of a struggling sector of the Louisiana electorate with an abnormally high tolerance for racist messaging.

While the rest of the country gawked at Louisiana and the Duke fiasco, Walker Percy, a Louisiana author, gave a prophetic warning to The New York Times.

“Don’t make the mistake of thinking David Duke is a unique phenomenon confined to Louisiana rednecks and yahoos. He’s not,” Percy said. “He’s not just appealing to the old Klan constituency, he’s appealing to the white middle class. And don’t think that he or somebody like him won’t appeal to the white middle class of Chicago or Queens.”

Kinda amazing to see the "economic anxiety" line dragged out 25 years ago to explain why people voted for David Duke.

I find a lot of people* will bend over backwards to come to any conclusion except racism. I spent a large chunk of a recent night arguing with someone who thinks -
a) Trump's done nothing wrong and any talk of impeachment is Dems being sore losers
b) People voted for Trump because they were tired of the Obama Administrations Policy decisions, not emotions.
c) That they refuse to think 30% of the country might be racist.
and d) When I brought up the studies of housing and employment discrimination based purely on historically minority names said that was based on peoples experience and wasn't racist. Followed by something about stereotypes being based on truth and personal responsibility. At which point my mind blanked out in self defense. Any attempts to gently hint that possibly they should try some self reflection was met with anger and the statement that as a Jewish person whos family died in the holocaust they know what discrimination is.
Almost got to "the left is the real racists" before I decided to call it a night. It was either that or have way more whisky, and I had driven there.

*Almost universally white

This Twitter thread arguing against the idea of "Everything is political" made me think a bit about the use of the term, even if I disagree with some of the assertions made within.

Meanwhile, I believe Iran and Saudi Arabia are currently playing a real-life game of Crusader Kings II/Europa Universalis IV:

Saudi Arabia and Iran's ongoing battle for power and influence rages on in the Middle East but analysts aren't convinced that an all-out war will happen, yet.

Many neighboring countries have been drawn into the conflict with Qatar, Yemen, Syria and Lebanon becoming proxy battlegrounds in the fight for regional dominance.

Relations between Sunni-majority Saudi Arabia and Shia-dominated Iran have deteriorated to a new low recently, particularly over the ongoing civil war in Yemen and the political crisis engulfing Lebanon which has seen its Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri resign over what he called Iranian meddling. This has led to speculation that all-out war could be declared by one or another of the Middle Eastern superpowers.

A source in the Iranian government, who asked to remain anonymous due to the sensitivity of the situation, told CNBC last week that Iran was a "peaceful nation" but that it was prepared for conflict if that was the only option left to it.

"We love peace, we're not looking for war but sometimes you should be prepared for war," the source said.

I could not explain what's going on there if you gave me a week to prepare.

Commentary: How Saudi Arabia has overreached on Iran, Lebanon

Tensions have eased over the past week, and it’s unlikely that the latest crisis will escalate into a military confrontation between Saudi Arabia and Iran. But while the prospect of direct clashes between the two regional rivals has eased, their ongoing proxy war is destabilizing the Middle East.

The two powers have backed competing factions in Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Lebanon since the United States invaded Iraq in 2003. While the conflict is partly rooted in the historical Sunni-Shi’ite split within Islam, it’s mainly a struggle for regional political dominance between Shi’ite-led Iran and Sunni-led Saudi Arabia.

Their proxy battles, which now also involve other powers like Russia and the United States, are at the root of much of the death and destruction in the Middle East in recent years. They have cost hundreds of thousands of lives, especially in Syria, where more than 400,000 have been killed since the March 2011 uprising against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, which is supported by Iran and Hezbollah. The Syrian war has also produced more than 5 million refugees whose search for sanctuary has triggered political crises in neighboring countries as well as Europe.

I like this Tweet/Explainer:

A rough diagram of the forces shaping Lebanese politics, from the Institute of Internet Diagrams for beginners.

IMAGE(https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DOgs2cvXkAA13Vw.jpg)

Prederick wrote:

This Twitter thread arguing against the idea of "Everything is political" made me think a bit about the use of the term, even if I disagree with some of the assertions made within.

His argument boils down to two points:

-society is a top down function that is imposed on citizens via politics

-everything can’t be political because then you have nothing to contrast “politics” with and the word loses it’s meaning

The former argument is partly true, but ignores the fact that society is also a social contract between it’s citizens, so every action one takes that affects other citizens (i.e.: nearly all actions) is inherently political.
The latter argument is basically a cross between a straw man and the “but mah logics” argument that angry keyboard warriors always trot out.

He explicitly says that in an ideal society politics should be invisible and citizens can freely ignore the functioning of their society in favor of “things that actually matter.” That kind of thinking is one of the reasons we ended up with the nightmare clown car trainwreck that we’re in. We need more engagement, not less.

A huge net neutrality push has started out on Reddit and elsewhere. I really like seeing the threads coming from all over. Think we'll be able to push it back yet again?

Back to grown-ups discussing grown-up things.

45 is Shutting down his charitable foundation amid an investigation into the foundation using its money to settle a lawsuit with his golf course and then the golf course paying it back.

Mixolyde wrote:

Back to grown-ups discussing grown-up things.

45 is Shutting down his charitable foundation amid an investigation into the foundation using its money to settle a lawsuit with his golf course and then the golf course paying it back.

I like how the foundation is getting all huffy about it after months of listening to him go on and on about the Clinton Foundation.

Here are some suggested political topics that may actually change your lives in the next few weeks:

Tax law
Repeal of Net Neutrality
Election of a man charged with assault of an 8th grader to the Senate
Defense of a man charged with assault of an 8th grader
Potential collapse of German govt

Do we have a Net Neutrality thread? Because we're going to need one, based on this open letter from the New York State Attorney General:

An Open Letter to the FCC:

Dear FCC Chairman Ajit Pai:

As you recently announced, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), under your leadership, soon will release rules to dismantle your agency’s existing “net neutrality” protections under Title II of the Communications Act, which shield the public from anti-consumer behaviors of the giant cable companies that provide high-speed internet to most people. In today’s digital age, the rules that govern the operation and delivery of internet service to hundreds of millions of Americans are critical to the economic and social well-being of the nation. Yet the process the FCC has employed to consider potentially sweeping alterations to current net neutrality rules has been corrupted by the fraudulent use of Americans’ identities — and the FCC has been unwilling to assist my office in our efforts to investigate this unlawful activity.

Specifically, for six months my office has been investigating who perpetrated a massive scheme to corrupt the FCC’s notice and comment process through the misuse of enormous numbers of real New Yorkers’ and other Americans’ identities. Such conduct likely violates state law — yet the FCC has refused multiple requests for crucial evidence in its sole possession that is vital to permit that law enforcement investigation to proceed.
In April 2017, the FCC announced that it would issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking concerning repeal of its existing net neutrality rules. Federal law requires the FCC and all federal agencies to take public comments on proposed rules into account — so it is important that the public comment process actually enable the voices of the millions of individuals and businesses who will be affected to be heard. That’s important no matter one’s position on net neutrality, environmental rules, and so many other areas in which federal agencies regulate.

In May 2017, researchers and reporters discovered that the FCC’s public comment process was being corrupted by the submission of enormous numbers of fake comments concerning the possible repeal of net neutrality rules. In doing so, the perpetrator or perpetrators attacked what is supposed to be an open public process by attempting to drown out and negate the views of the real people, businesses, and others who honestly commented on this important issue. Worse, while some of these fake comments used made up
names and addresses, many misused the real names and addresses of actual people as part of the effort to undermine the integrity of the comment process. That’s akin to identity theft, and it happened on a massive scale.

My office analyzed the fake comments and found that tens of thousands of New Yorkers may have had their identities misused in this way. (Indeed, analysis showed that, in all, hundreds of thousands of Americans likely were victimized in the same way, including tens of thousands per state in California, Georgia, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, and possibly others.) Impersonation and other misuse of a person’s identity violates New York law, so my office launched an investigation.

Successfully investigating this sort of illegal conduct requires the participation of the agency whose system was attacked. So in June 2017, we contacted the FCC to request certain records related to its public comment system that were necessary to investigate which bad actor or actors were behind the misconduct. We made our request for logs and other records at least 9 times over 5 months: in June, July, August, September, October (three times), and November.

We reached out for assistance to multiple top FCC officials, including you, three successive acting FCC General Counsels, and the FCC’s Inspector General. We offered to keep the requested records confidential, as we had done when my office and the FCC shared information and documents as part of past investigative work.
Yet we have received no substantive response to our investigative requests. None.

Notes on the derail:

Spoiler:

The big issue why "racism against white people" isn't a thing (like "sexism against men isn't a thing") is that racism involves structural discrimination. It's not one dude hurt your feelings by disagreeing with you on an internet forum, it's having an entire society constructed to exclude and exploit you.

Likewise, there's no "white heritage" being suppressed--because the only things that fit under that label are pretty explicitly racist stuff (like slavery). There are, like, individual cultures--e.g. Italian--but lumping those under "white culture" is both disingenuous and erases what's actually unique about those cultures. (Not to mention things like: ask the Irish if they like being erased by the British.)

The United States has always had a white supremacist component, of course--the three-fifths compromise is literally in the Constitution, as is the terrible relationship with the native population--but it had a ton of non-white people too. Not to mention that the identity of being "white" wasn't really fully constructed until much later.

("Black" is also a recently constructed identity; a reaction to being kidnapped and having their ties to their homeland ripped away from them. It's not that constructed identities are bad, it's that they mean things, and the only markers associated with "white" )

Also, continued off-topic posting in the News thread is explicitly against the Code of Conduct.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!! *

* To our non-American friends, this is the holiday that we Americans eat, drink, and try not to kill our family members who are racist, anti-LGBTQ, etc etc.

I consider this good practice for tomorrow.

[quote="Gremlin"]Do we have a Net Neutrality thread? Because we're going to need one, based on this open letter from the New York State Attorney General:

An Open Letter to the FCC:

Dear FCC Chairman Ajit Pai:

As you recently announced, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), under your leadership, soon will release rules to dismantle your agency’s existing “net neutrality” protections under Title II of the Communications Act, which shield the public from anti-consumer behaviors of the giant cable companies that provide high-speed internet to most people. In today’s digital age, the rules that govern the operation and delivery of internet service to hundreds of millions of Americans are critical to the economic and social well-being of the nation. Yet the process the FCC has employed to consider potentially sweeping alterations to current net neutrality rules has been corrupted by the fraudulent use of Americans’ identities — and the FCC has been unwilling to assist my office in our efforts to investigate this unlawful activity.

Specifically, for six months my office has been investigating who perpetrated a massive scheme to corrupt the FCC’s notice and comment process through the misuse of enormous numbers of real New Yorkers’ and other Americans’ identities. Such conduct likely violates state law — yet the FCC has refused multiple requests for crucial evidence in its sole possession that is vital to permit that law enforcement investigation to proceed.
In April 2017, the FCC announced that it would issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking concerning repeal of its existing net neutrality rules. Federal law requires the FCC and all federal agencies to take public comments on proposed rules into account — so it is important that the public comment process actually enable the voices of the millions of individuals and businesses who will be affected to be heard. That’s important no matter one’s position on net neutrality, environmental rules, and so many other areas in which federal agencies regulate.

In May 2017, researchers and reporters discovered that the FCC’s public comment process was being corrupted by the submission of enormous numbers of fake comments concerning the possible repeal of net neutrality rules. In doing so, the perpetrator or perpetrators attacked what is supposed to be an open public process by attempting to drown out and negate the views of the real people, businesses, and others who honestly commented on this important issue. Worse, while some of these fake comments used made up
names and addresses, many misused the real names and addresses of actual people as part of the effort to undermine the integrity of the comment process. That’s akin to identity theft, and it happened on a massive scale.

My office analyzed the fake comments and found that tens of thousands of New Yorkers may have had their identities misused in this way. (Indeed, analysis showed that, in all, hundreds of thousands of Americans likely were victimized in the same way, including tens of thousands per state in California, Georgia, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, and possibly others.) Impersonation and other misuse of a person’s identity violates New York law, so my office launched an investigation.

Successfully investigating this sort of illegal conduct requires the participation of the agency whose system was attacked. So in June 2017, we contacted the FCC to request certain records related to its public comment system that were necessary to investigate which bad actor or actors were behind the misconduct. We made our request for logs and other records at least 9 times over 5 months: in June, July, August, September, October (three times), and November.

We reached out for assistance to multiple top FCC officials, including you, three successive acting FCC General Counsels, and the FCC’s Inspector General. We offered to keep the requested records confidential, as we had done when my office and the FCC shared information and documents as part of past investigative work.
Yet we have received no substantive response to our investigative requests. None.

What we should be discussing. I'm spending my day finding ways to make my voice heard so any ideas would be greatly appreciated.

Swarmfront was a project from Storm Front that coordinated and taught internet activists who believe in the White Genocide to post on social media sites and discussion forums, in an attempt to associate discussion of racism with the slogan "Anti-racism is Anti-White", which I believe you'll find expressed earlier. The folks who did this were called "bugs", in Don Black's terminology, so what we're seeing with Nyanta is a particularly diligent bug who has decided to gift us with his views. He seems to have the playbook down - it's largely based on concern trolling, with the emphasis on repetition of the message, so the more responses he can give, the more he can put the message out there in the hopes that some impressionable White gamer will see it later and rally to the cause.

Killing it, Robear.

As for net neutrality, this is all we can do for now.

Given the year we've had, you really should have those numbers in your phones for easy access.

@demo: Hey big guy. Sun's gettin real low.

oilypenguin wrote:

Killing it, Robear.

As for net neutrality, this is all we can do for now.

Given the year we've had, you really should have those numbers in your phones for easy access.

@demo: Hey big guy. Sun's gettin real low.

Doesn't work without the handstroke.

...that sounds wrong.

Robear wrote:

Swarmfront was a project from Storm Front that coordinated and taught internet activists who believe in the White Genocide to post on social media sites and discussion forums, in an attempt to associate discussion of racism with the slogan "Anti-racism is Anti-White", which I believe you'll find expressed earlier. The folks who did this were called "bugs", in Don Black's terminology, so what we're seeing with Nyanta is a particularly diligent bug who has decided to gift us with his views. He seems to have the playbook down - it's largely based on concern trolling, with the emphasis on repetition of the message, so the more responses he can give, the more he can put the message out there in the hopes that some impressionable White gamer will see it later and rally to the cause.

And the difficulty is properly responding to it once you recognize the strategy. Starting with the traditional "I'm not a racist, you (insert insult of choice here)" is pretty much geared to fail. Hell, responding at all really doesn't work because the entire point is to make people mad, and mad people say stupid sh*t that provides more openings. So throw logic out of the window.

So how do you respond to it? Well, there's a few ways that I've found that work quite well. Remember, the goal here is to make the other person as angry as possible while making yourself laugh a lot.

The first is to say nothing. Without any rethorical handhold, the vine can't get enough sunlight and withers and dies. But that's not for everyone.

The second is to treat it like it really is, a complete and utter joke. Hence my favorite response to people like this: "lol ur wrong". It's an absurdist statement, crafted entirely to make it seem that:
1. You're laughing at them(lol).
2. Providing just enough of a rethorical hook to let a personal insult slip(ur wrong), which can cause moderation.

Alternatively, that's what random gifs are for, preferably of things the person in question hates. In this case, women and/or black people are definitely good ideas. The sillier the better, because they make you laugh, which means you're much less likely to say stupid sh*t. And the worst case there is that you end up with 6 pages of random hilarious gifs.

Or a spontaneous burnout from the thread. In either case, mission accomplished.

Also, IMAGE(https://media.giphy.com/media/pUeXcg80cO8I8/giphy.gif)

nyanta wrote:
cube wrote:

It's literally what you're trying to do.

I literally don't understand what you're talking about.

‘lol ur wrong’

Is what he’s talking about, I think.

Also:

IMAGE(http://i0.kym-cdn.com/photos/images/facebook/001/181/795/6fc.jpg)

The Women I’m Thankful For

And so, this Thanksgiving, my girls and I will gather cranberries from the bog and tow my mom out when she gets stuck. I will attempt a tablescape, which my kids will mock. We’ll roast a turkey and mash sweet potatoes. And then, instead of thanking men who bravely and nobly managed to keep their hands to themselves, we will thank the women.

Aly Raisman and McKayla Maroney. Leigh Corfman and Beverly Young Nelson. Diana Nyad. Rose McGowan and Ashley Judd. Lupita Nyong’o and Annabella Sciorra. Kitti Jones, the latest to make allegations against R. Kelly. And, of course, Anita Hill, who endured such scorn and shame, who cracked open the basement door and let the first beams of light shine through.

Next, you're going to tell me that Santa isn't real.

Wink_and_the_Gun wrote:

Next, you're going to tell me that Santa isn't real.

C'mon! Spoiler tag that sh*t!!!

oilypenguin wrote:

Get your liberal alt-history out of here.

Wink_and_the_Gun wrote:

Next, you're going to tell me that Santa isn't real.

Also Christ wasn't born on Christmas.

thrawn82 wrote:

With thanksgiving coming up it's nice to be reminded about the dirty parts of history, that those in power in America have always been oppressive. To be reminded why it's always been important to fight for equality, to remember that being rich or powerful does not represent any form of intrinsic virtue, and to endevour to drag down those who abuse their authority or who insist that their wealth or power make them intrinsicly superior.

Cracked's got you.

(Am I the only one who feels their political satire has no right being as thoughtful & entertaining as it is?)

I've been advocating that Cracked is doing a lot of good work pointing out that kind of stuff, and also writing a ton of good articles about the lived experience of people without a voice. Their series on living in poverty is fantastic. They just get written off as crass humor because of the name and the number of dick jokes.

They do have a lot of dick jokes.

Aaron D. wrote:

(Am I the only one who feels their political satire has no right being as thoughtful & entertaining as it is?)

They've got a lot of dick jokes, but I'm continually surprised how much of the best and most thoughtful writing on the internet is from the website of a defunct 50's ripoff of MAD.

I just finished Charles Mann's 1491 which talks for a while about Thanksgiving and the story of the original natives in the New England area. Definitely different than the traditional story.

Hells Angels associates accused of racketeering, murder and intimidation, authorities say

A gang initiation murder at a Fresno clubhouse. Drug heists. Stockpiles of weapons, including shotguns, a nail-spiked club, brass knuckles and bulletproof vests. Intimidation of a sexual assault victim.

Federal prosecutors on Monday laid out a string of alleged crimes carried out over the course of the last decade by nearly a dozen alleged associates of the Hells Angels motorcycle gang, including one on the East Coast. They were indicted last month by a grand jury, and the 11-count indictment unsealed Monday was the culmination of a three-year investigation that involved the FBI, the Santa Rosa Police Department, the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Department and the California Highway Patrol.